Pop star Justin Bieber has posted an online picture of himself in a hospital bed just hours after leaving the stage mid-song during a UK show, complaining he was short of breath.
He told fans he is “getting better” and trying to figure out what happened as his eventful UK tour took another colourful twist.
Earlier this week he upset thousands of fans by starting his first of four nights at London’s O2 arena so late that many had to miss most of the show. Some of his young devotees were in tears as they left to catch transport home.
Last night, Bieber was midway through performing the track Beauty And The Beat when he walked off.
His manager Scooter Braun said he was seen by a doctor backstage at the venue who told him not to return to the stage.
But it has led to further claims that it was a publicity stunt to win back the affection of fans after the drubbing he received earlier in the week over his poor time-keeping, for which he eventually apologised blaming technical problems.
Braun told the crowd of around 20,000 people: “Justin got very light of breath, the whole show he’s been complaining. He’s backstage with the EMTs (emergency medical team) and the doctor.
“They’re telling him they want him to go and see somebody and find out what’s going on with his lungs, he’s just told me that in five minutes, if it’s OK with you guys, he’s going to come out and finish the show.
“So he might not be jumping around as much and everything else, you guys need to be patient with us, we’re not trying to be disrespectful, we’re not trying to get you guys home late, we’re truly trying to put on a show for the people who love him.”
Earlier in the evening, the manager had tweeted his joy that Bieber had started the show 10 minutes early - in contrast to the antics earlier in the week.
One fan said of Bieber’s stage departure, via Twitter: “He literally was so out of breath on stage in the middle of Beauty And The Beat and then went off.”
He later returned to continue performing.
Bieber published the picture of himself on his Instagram account showing him in the hospital bed after being checked over by doctors.
He wrote: “Getting better. Thanks for everyone pulling me thru tonight. Best fans in the world. Figuring out what happened.”
But fans have raised questions over the timing of his illness, claiming it was a sympathy stunt.
One wrote on Twitter: “Justin Bieber was not sick, its a publicity stunt to make up for his late show.”
Another speculated: “Justin Bieber publicity stunt collapse because he cocked up the other night by being 2 hrs late for his fans. Anything for sympathy?”
Bieber was said to be feeling “under the weather” today, but is planning to continue with his latest performance at the O2 Arena this evening.
A spokeswoman said: “Justin has been released from the hospital after a check-up and, while he’s feeling a little under the weather, he’s currently planning on going ahead with tonight’s show.”